Saturday, September 27, 2014

Great Moment at Bible Study

So many of you have said you enjoy reading my (Nate's) "Word of the Day" or "Phrase of the Day" that I post semi-daily on Facebook. Most of the time, this is just a new word that I learn and a way to have additional touches with the word. Part of this is because they say you have to have contact with a word at least 6 times before it comes into your vocabulary (the same is true in a native language as well), and I want to maximize the amount of contact I have with a new word or phrase.

But often times, there is a second reason that I post these words, and that is because there is a great story attached to them. Sometimes I am the star of that story, bravely carrying my new word into unexplored territory. More often, I am simply the "Dick Van Dyke" of the story, tripping over the same ottoman again and again.

Yesterday was one of those days. We were talking in small group about someone writing a card, and then someone else, in response to saying what would be in the card, said, "oh yeah, then you know schleim schleim" (it sounds like slime but with an "sh" on the front). Bethany and I both looked at each other and gave a collective "what?"

"sich einschleimen" is a verb that means to kiss up to someone or suck up. It has the same negative connotation that our phrases do in English. So in the context of the conversation, they meant "yeah and then you just fill in the card with things that butter them up."

First of all, can I tell you how much I love this word?! It is onomatopoeia (words that sound like what they are) at it's best! "Der Schleim" is actually slime or phlegm (another great word). This is just a fun word to say.

Second of all, it illustrates a point that I think is important. A while ago, I was using a language tool we have that is a series of question cards for starting a conversation. The question was: "If you could learn any language over night, what would it be?" The challenge with that question is that language learning is tied to relationships and memories. I can't disconnect my knowledge of the word "einschleimen" with the memory of last night, and I would say my language learning is richer because of those memories.

We will continue to have "wait what?!" moments for a long time, but this one was far more fun than embarrassing.